An important question. Nobody likes dealing with shirt pilling.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as avoiding a specific type of detergent or washing with cold water instead of warm water – although, if you are using a strong detergent, this may be a contributing factor. Setting your washing machine to ‘hand wash’ or ‘delicate’ may also help, but it’s worth keeping in mind that pilling is caused by the fabric itself. This is particularly the case with (but not limited to) artificial fabrics like polyester and nylon – and blends that include artificial fabrics too, like a polyester/cotton blend. That’s not to say that wool and cotton don’t pill, they just do so decreasingly over time. Silk and linen pill even less. Pills happen in everyday use through abrasion of the fabric – such as when a shirt rubs against itself under the armpit.
The recommended option to prolong the life of most washable garments is to wash them inside out, which prevents the outside from coming into contact with other garments. Also make sure that you’re not putting too many items into the washing machine at the same time. Using a fabric softener is also said to be a way to prevent pilling. If you’ve already been doing all of this and it still remains a problem, then it could be the dryer. It’s worth letting the shirts that suffer from pilling dry on a drying rack if using the dryer is having an adverse effect on them. That’s not to say that the dryer is the sole culprit, as there can be a number of factors contributing to shirt pilling. It may in fact be another garment that’s part of the same washing machine load – quite possibly a pair of jeans.
Even if you still end up with pills on your shirt, though, it’s possible to use a fabric shaver – or even simply a disposable razor – to remove them.
Mister Singh’s Fashion Gallery is a Bangkok, Khao Lak and Phuket tailor. We have decades of experience in producing high-quality custom-made garments for ladies and gentlemen. If you’re interested in getting a new custom-tailored shirt or blouse, simply send us a message below.
If you live overseas, we normally ask that you send us a well-fitting garment so that we can get your measurements. We promptly send it back along with your new shirt or blouse. We also have a travelling tailor service where we visit and host trunk shows in major cities around the world every year. If you’d like to be informed in advance of our next visit to your city, remember to enter your city into the relevant field below.